The phenomenal socio-economic development of Bangladesh over the last decade is cited as a development miracle by the global community. Our people-centric development model based on "leaving no one behind" has been the key to achieving this miracle. Bangladesh has achieved 6.5 percent economic growth over the last decade, is expecting 8.13 percent growth this year and is aiming for double-digit growth soon.

Based on the success of "Vision 2021," we now aspire to become a developed country by 2041. Transforming our young generation into valuable human resources for the global supply chain will be a key component to realizing this target. We have undertaken major infrastructure development schemes to ensure energy security, food security and a better standard of living for our people. We have planned to set up 100 special economic zones, including one for Japanese investors.

Japan and Bangladesh have always enjoyed a close relationship based on mutual trust and cooperation. Saving money from their meals, Japanese students stood beside us during our liberation war. Japan was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh on Feb. 10, 1972. There is close resemblance between our flags. Our father of the nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, used to say the Japanese flag reminds him of the land of the rising sun and ours recalls the independence gained by sacrificing millions of lives and our green field. He inspired us to follow the Japanese transition process from agrarian to industrialization, focusing on farm mechanization. The strong foundation of our relations was laid by Mujib through his historic visit in October 1973. Responding to the request of the president, Japan conducted a thorough feasibility study for the Jamuna (Bangabandhu) Bridge in 1974. Mujib's "The Unfinished Memoire" was translated first into the Japanese language before any other.